Jose Mourinho said no team in the world would be able to cope with the amount of injuries to key players Tottenham have suffered.
Without Harry Kane, Moussa Sissoko, Heung-min Son and Steven Bergwijn, Spurs crashed out of the Champions League with a 4-0 aggregate loss to RB Leipzig in the last 16.
Defeat to the Bundesliga side meant Tottenham’s last remaining hope of winning silverware this season has gone thanks to Marcel Sabitzer’s two goals and one from Emil Forsberg.
“It looks like the obvious is that the problems accumulate with the accumulation of injuries,” the manager said afterwards.
“If you want to make an exercise and imagine Leipzig tonight without Sabitzer, [Patrik] Schick, [Timo] Werner, do you think they would win the way they did?
“You want to go to Spain and do Barcelona without [Antoine] Griezmann, [Lionel] Messi, [Luis] Suarez.
“Do you want to make this exercise with every team in the world?”
Tottenham, seven points off fourth-placed Chelsea, must play Manchester United next and Mourinho recognises the huge task he faces in guiding Spurs back into the Champions League, a competition in which they reached the final last season.
“With the squad we have at the moment it’s going to be very, very difficult,” he said.
“These problems are not going to disappear from today to tomorrow.
“But we have matches to play, matches to fight in. You can see in our matches in the Premier League that we fight until the end.
“In the Premier League we don’t have results where we had no chances to fight for the points.
“When we lost matches, we lost matches 2-1, 3-2, 1-0. We had draws so it’s not like we don’t fight.
“So we will fight and the players have to be very strong to fight with the limitations we have.
“This time we are not going to recover any players for next Sunday. At least we have a little period, not just two days like we have all the time, we have four days in between.”
As Tottenham manager, Mourinho has lost all three of his league games against sides he’s formerly managed – one against Man United, two against Chelsea. In his previous 16 league games against his former clubs in Portugal and England, he only lost twice, winning nine and drawing five.
However, Tottenham lost their last home league 3-2 to Wolves and the last time they lost successive home league matches was in January 2019, with those defeats coming against Wolves and Man United.